A cardinal feature of multiple sclerosis (MS) is the persistent intrathecal synthesis of antibodies. Our previous finding that a large fraction of B cells infiltrating the MS brain are infected with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) raises the possibility that this virus, because of its ability to establish a latent infection in B cells and interfere with their differentiation, contributes to B-cell dysregulation in MS. The aim of this study was to gain further insight into EBV latency programs and their relationship to B-cell activation in the MS brain. Immunohistochemical analysis of postmortem MS brain samples harboring large EBV deposits revealed that most B cells in white matter lesions, meninges, and ectopic B-cell follicles are CD27+ antigen-experienced cells and coexpress latent membrane protein 1 and latent membrane protein 2A, 2 EBV-encoded proteins that provide survival and maturation signals to B cells. By combining laser-capture microdissection with preamplification reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction techniques, EBV latency transcripts (latent membrane protein 2A, EBV nuclear antigen 1) were detected in all MS brain samples analyzed. We also found that B cell-activating factor of the tumor necrosis factor family is expressed in EBV-infected B cells in acute MS lesions and ectopic B-cell follicles. These findings support a role for EBV infection in B-cell activation in the MS brain and suggest that B cell-activating factor of the tumor necrosis factor family produced by EBV-infected B cells may contribute to this process resulting in viral persistence and, possibly, disruption of B-cell tolerance.